Annual reports

How can film and animation make your annual report amazing?

Carpool karaoke, stirring human interest stories and highly-engaging animations are just some of the ways our videos have brought annual reports to life.

Yes, it’s nearly that time again… time to start thinking about how you’re going to effectively communicate key achievements over the last 12 months.

2020-21 has been a truly exceptional year, and because of social distancing, you may not have quite as much content.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here’s how:

  • We’re out filming! There’s still plenty of time for us to capture the stores you need, following all the latest Covid safety guidelines. If people aren’t comfortable being filmed in person, we can record them over things like Zoom.
  • We can edit! So, if you have any photos or have captured any video footage, we can transform these into some truly excellent features.
  • We do animation! Animated videos in annual reports are a fab way of getting key impact stats across. They can also be used to bring customer stories to life.

Here are some examples of videos that work brilliantly:

Powerful customer stories

Animating key stats

Do something different

Here’s an award-winning example of something a little more unusual:

Why not make video an integral part of your report like this board game example we worked on which used green screen technology so that presenters looked like they were stood on the actual playing squares!

There are so many possibilities to make this year’s report amazing. We’d love to discuss your ideas so please get in touch.

Find more inspiration on our housing page or watch more of our videos in the our work section.

Contact us


Pete Sims

Housing campaign hailed as a success

Housing professionals across the UK engaged with our campaign focused on digital transformation and the importance of content creation.

Our #LoveWhatWeDoInHousing campaign reached well over 100,000 people on social media with hundreds of contributions and reactions.

This included insights from Aster Group, whg, Thrive Homes, Selwood Housing, PA Housing and The Wrekin Housing Group.

The month centred around four blogs looking at the following themes:

Our dedicated housing webpage gave professionals an opportunity to find out more and to view a stirring showreel all about our work in the sector.

Fresh on the back of the campaign, we’re looking forward to working with more housing associations and want to thank everyone who got involved.

Director Peter Sims said: “We’ve loved working in housing for the last 14 years and we were so proud to run a campaign that really got to the heart of why film and animation is so important, particularly in the rapidly changing world of digital communications.

“We were so delighted with the reaction to the campaign and we’re excited about working with more housing professionals to really showcase the amazing work they are doing and the difference being made.

“Look out for other great projects and campaigns on our website.”

Already thinking about what’s coming up soon in housing communications, we’ve just published a blog about how film and animation can bring annual reports to life.

To find out more about our work in housing visit www.7video.co.uk/housing

Contact us


Customer service centre

Improving customer experience and support

There are so many important topics in housing right now and video is at the forefront of delivering key messages that affect us all. Whether it’s advice for customers or keeping your colleagues updated on the latest ways that offer support, watch some of our videos that we have loved creating with our friends in housing. 

Customer journey

This can be quite a web of interactions between the customer and an association’s different departments. It can be hard to map out and understand where all the touch points are and how to best communicate at each point. If done successfully, it can really powerfully inform work.

Once mapped, video plays an important role in engagement, from a new tenancy agreement right through to leaving a property. For example, film or animation can quickly explain roles and responsibilities and how to report repairs or problems with issues like antisocial behaviour. It can also cover off things like building safety and even simply convey sometimes complicated issues like Right to Buy. The list really is endless.

Customer portals

Major influencers such as Amazon, streaming services, smart phones and other consumer products and companies that customers interact with in their day-to-day environment have shifted today’s consumer expectations and standards. This places greater expectations on quick and often instantaneous response times and easy, convenient access to products and services. These expectations translate into customers’ expectations of the housing sector. Many housing associations are adopting solutions for their customers to check their rent balance, make a payment or report a repair online at their convenience, but there can be varying successes with achieving positive uptake.

A common obstacle is that  few customers know they exist or don’t have the know how to use them.

Film and animation can be used effectively here to thoroughly promote the fact that they exist or creating a series of features to walk customers through the site, chaptering them so they can click on bite-sized topics relevant to them.

This certainly was the case for Thrive Homes as Leah Thompson, marketing communications business partner explained:

“We needed a way to show customers real-life common scenarios and how key benefits of our customer hub can help with managing their Thrive account. There’s no easier way to get this across than in video and we’re really pleased with the result!”

Thrive Homes aims to build trusted, open relationships with its customers, with expectations clearly laid out from both sides of the customer-landlord relationship. These strong relationships are driven by clear communications, with Thrive making sure to map customers’ journeys to ensure they are able to connect at a myriad of touchpoints, understand their experiences and motivations, and address any issues or burdensome processes.

As part of this communication loop, Thrive creates a Customer Experience Panel and creates additional opportunities for customers to provide feedback, have their voices heard and shape the services that impact them. All of which is influenced by the power of video.

Supporting customers

It’s all well and good having lots of digital platforms but with a digital communications revolution there is increased danger of widening digital inequality with many people not having the necessary skills or access to broadband or technology.

Housing associations frequently offer support for this, including one-to-one advice. Face-to-face is great but it can be resource heavy and time consuming. Imagine how many more people could be reached with easy-to-understand animations or explainer videos which provide training when colleagues cannot be there.

It is widely recognised that during a global emergency, the people hit hardest are those that are having a tough time already, and this includes people in social housing.

Videos can be used to support and signpost too including for mental health, well-being and financial support.

For example, at a time of massive uncertainty caused by Coronavirus, PA Housing is using a powerful video to help reach out to customers who needed extra support.

This TV advert-style film promotes how customers financially affected by the pandemic can contact the housing association’s Tenancy Sustainment team.

Thousands of people watched the video within days of its release with reviews like this:

“Wow! I’ve never watched a video that demonstrates the work UK housing does better than this.”

PA Housing was also delighted with the results. Tenancy sustainment manager Ian Clutton said:

“The final product has really blown us away and the feedback that we are getting from customers and from the housing sector is fantastic.”

You can read more about our work with PA here.

Training/how to videos

As part of the self help/self serve agenda, these videos are becoming increasingly popular. Touching on both auditory and visual senses, videos are a fantastic medium to produce effective and compelling how-to tutorials and more.

Did you know, 65% of people use YouTube to help them solve a problem. From renovating their bathroom, unblocking a sink to getting a splinter out of their hand, they are searching for video content to help. Sharing bits of knowledge or information goes a long way in building trust and means they are less likely to call for help to complete a simple task from home.

We have all seen these types of videos. Some like them professionally shot, others do something basic on their mobile phone and there’s even the option of animation. There is a balance to be struck between being authentic but being engaging, visually appealing and most importantly of all audible.

Click on the links below to read blogs linked with this focus on digital transformation in housing:

  1. How can housing capitalise on the huge growth of digital communications?
  2. How to better engage with customer colleagues and stakeholders
  3. Showcasing developments during the housing crisis
Visit our housing webpage for more examples of our work

Contact us


Can housing capitalise on the growth of digital comms?

We’re in the midst of a digital communication revolution where new patterns have emerged, including more people of all ages and backgrounds adopting and embracing digital than ever before.

This in turn will lead to a long-term preference for new approaches with direct impacts on housing.

And along with recommendations made in the Social Housing White Paper, effective engagement with colleagues and customers has never been so important.

Better unleashing the power of video is an important part of communications. See examples in our showreel below:

As well as the key areas highlighted in the showreel, here are just some of the expected impacts of the digital revolution:

  • A huge uptake in video conferencing like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, transforming the way we engage and connect.
  • A widening of talent pools for recruitment as the commute becomes less important.
  • Digital ways of communicating key messages and supporting learning are even more of a norm.
  • Increased number of people expecting to be engaged, entertained and informed through digital communications.
  • More customers wanting to go online to access services, key information or raise questions or concerns.
  • A desire to see more human interest stories online rather than being bombarded about brands.
  • Widening gap between those who are digitally able and those who are not, increasing the need for more support.
  • Shift of internal cultures, transforming the office environment and way people work and are supported in work.
  • Need to more effectively showcase new developments during an ever evolving housing crisis.

Microsoft estimates that there was two years of digital transformation over just two months of the pandemic.

Habits may have changed forever, so it’s crucially important that all sectors, including housing, utilise the opportunities this transformation has created.

Customer experience

Before Covid, associations were on their own digital journeys as they investigated and implemented ways of best reaching their own customers, colleagues and stakeholders.

And it has been a bumpy journey in part as they wrestle with internal and external pressures to find the best solutions according to different needs, demographics and skills as well as supporting those that are in danger of being left behind.

Managing customers’ expectations and improving customer experience has been a major focus with housing exploring and implementing plans to engage in the best places and on the most appropriate platforms.

The self help/self serve agenda has been at the forefront of many campaigns with a drive to not only support customers better but give them opportunities to report online with the knock on effect of reducing costs and the number of calls contact centres receive.

There has been varying success in the sector but with a widespread recognition that everyone needs to get on board. Where there may have been those happy to delay work on their own digital transformation, Covid may have just accelerated the need to fully embrace it.

Power of video

A big part of any digital transformation is the use of video. As described, people are increasingly using it to communicate. No area of communication has grown faster than video production:

  • 80% of people have engaged with more video content than they did before Covid.
  • By next year, 82% of all content created will be video, 15 times higher than in 2017.
  • Video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined.
  • By 2025 a massive 76% of mobile traffic will be video showing that demand to use it to communicate and be entertained.

So armed with this knowledge and the fact that there has been a Covid revolution, it should be at the forefront of any digital marketing strategy.

Click on the links below to discover much more about how the digital transformation is affecting different areas of housing. Learn how video is effectively supporting marketing and communication strategies and read what the sector thinks.

  1. Improving customer experience and support 
  2. How to better engage with customer colleagues and stakeholders
  3. Showcasing developments during the housing crisis
Visit our housing webpage for more examples of our work

Contact us


Colleagues in a meeting

How to better engage with your audience

Many customers and colleagues no longer want to just see a brand, they want to go behind the brand and meet the people and processes that bring it all together.

Vlogs are the third most-popular video form (coming in after how-to and educational videos) and are a popular way to connect a brand with its customers. The idea is to humanise your brand and dig deeper into the raw, authentic approach to connect with viewers.

Real life stories

At a time when a pandemic has driven massive anxiety, tragedy and uncertainty, telling the story of people and the difference being made has never been so important.

And don’t forget stakeholders too. Remember they are human and have been affected in the same way and still want you to go beyond the brand. Of course, you may need to influence them in a different way and again film or animation is the most powerful way of getting messages across and you can easily and quickly edit videos to make them more relevant to different types of stakeholders.

Below is a video we made for whg. Highlighting the importance of real life stories its brand and marketing specialist Patrick Lewis said:

“As more than a landlord, every day whg colleagues work with our customers and in our communities to make a difference. Telling their stories is vital in raising awareness of the extra support we provide. Colleagues, customers and peers have told us the emotive, poignant film of Stephen’s Story had a lasting impact on them.”

Internal communications

Covid has led to an increased investment in internal communications to support the transition from office to home. This has sometimes amplified problems such as how to reach remote workers better or how to make the best use of a poor intranet. It has also led to new considerations such as how to look after people’s well-being and what working environments will look like or how colleagues will want to work in a post pandemic era.

Communication is key to any new world. Engagement has to happen now to find out what the future needs are and associations will need to keep on communicating and engaging to ensure morale remains high and people can work as effectively as possible, feeling great about where they work too. It’s a difficult mix and video plays a vital part in messaging.

Film and animation can help explain key messages in a timely way, can highlight certain topics and can inspire and enthuse people to embrace any changes like few other things can.

Perhaps, like never before, there is a desire for colleagues to be connected to the purpose of your organisation.

Sarah Palmer, head of internal communications at Aster Group, described the impact of the pandemic.

“At Aster, we’ve used video to share messages with our colleagues for some time – it’s a great way to connect our dispersed workforce,” she said. “As the pandemic has changed the way we work, video has been one of the ways in which we’ve been able to continue engaging with our people.

“For the first time ever, last year we had no choice but to host our annual colleague award event virtually, and video content played a big part in helping us create a sense of celebration and ‘togetherness.'”

Recruitment

The pandemic may have changed the way we work forever which has a knock on impact on recruitment.

This should be seen as a positive thing as flexibility about where we work will only widen the talent pool with the commute to work no longer being such an issue.

It also affects the way new colleagues are inducted with remote management being commonplace.

Increasingly, people wanting a job in housing may want to see more evidence of the life-changing difference being made, more about the benefits of working with you and assurances that their aspirations and wellbeing will be well looked after.

Video has a key role to play in impactfully demonstrating all of this in short, engaging videos. For example animations to explain key benefits, engaging welcoming messages and see a sense of pride and enjoyment from people already working for you.

An example of a success story in this area was an animation produced to help Selwood Housing recruit residents to its scrutiny panel. It led to unprecedented interest and saw the appointment of high quality candidates.

Marketing and communications executive Amy Roberts said:

“It helped to drive an average increase in views of the scrutiny pages of our website of over 1000%.

“Altogether we had 26 customers express an interest in attending a taster session, 10 of them did so, and nine applied of such good quality that we invited five people to join instead of three.”

You can read more about our work with Selwood Housing here.

Click on the links below to read blogs linked with this focus on digital transformation in housing:

  1. How can housing capitalise on the huge growth of digital communications?
  2. Improving customer experience and support
  3. Showcasing developments during the housing crisis
Visit our housing webpage to see more examples of our work.

Contact us


Construction site at sunset

Showcasing developments during the housing crisis

There was a housing crisis before Covid and there is plenty more still to be done by housebuilders, housing associations, councils, communities and developers all over the country.

Development will be key to helping the economy bounce back. Using video, including timelapse and drone footage, to showcase new developments from start to end as well as highlighting the final construction and telling the stories of people living there, works wonders for communications and landing your key messages.

Promoting your developments effectively will show your audience the positive way you are helping to address the shortage of properties and help to revitalise the economy.

Ed Thomas, group head of marketing and communications at The Wrekin Housing Group said

“Great video is such a powerful way of telling our story.

“At Wrekin we make a difference to people’s lives so as a proactive developer with an ambitious build programme it is vital that we make the big numbers relevant for our audiences in the communities we serve. The best way of achieving this is through the words of our customers who live in their new homes, the people who built them and the people who manage them.”

If your development plans have a commercial side such as shared ownership, market rent or outright sale, then high impact videos can not only better explain different schemes and initiatives, but also showcase properties in a way that helps exceed customers’ expectations.

Videos turn properties into homes and curious buyers or renters into leads for your sales team.

Click on the links below to read blogs linked with this focus on digital transformation in housing:

    1. How can housing capitalise on the huge growth of digital communications?
    2. Improving customer experience and support
    3. How to better engage with customers, colleagues and stakeholders
Visit our housing webpage for more examples of our work

Contact us


Filming outside

How we're working during the pandemic

We just want to let you know that we may be working a little differently because of Covid but we’re still here to support you. 

Our services are open and our office hours of 9am to 5.30pm remain the same, so please contact us if you have a project you’d like to discuss.

It may take us a little longer than usual to respond as the team are all working remotely but we will get back to you as soon as we can.

This is a difficult time for all of us but we would just like to assure you that we will continue to deliver the highest quality services throughout.

If you have a project in mind for any of our other services – film, animation, drone or timelapse – please get in touch. You can also read about the measures we are taking to keep everyone safe here.

We look forward to working together soon.

Contact us


Four film trends for 2021 you shouldn't ignore

In 2020 63% of mobile traffic is video, and this is set to grow to 76% by 2025.

As we go through 2021, it’s no secret that video marketing is a standout way to reach your audience and should be at the forefront of your digital strategy. As the medium has developed over the years, one thing has become extremely apparent: the sky is your limit. As a business, you have the potential to explore a number of different creative avenues to test the waters of what works and what doesn’t for your target audience. For example in your film you could also include drone and timelapse footage – these are two other services we can provide.

It’s about engaging with your audience and entertaining them in a memorable way, to create a lasting impression of your business. You have the opportunity to combine storytelling with marketing, taking your viewers on a journey that both draws them in and entices them to stay.

There are a number of trends that have emerged showing the direction video marketing is taking, which as a business you can captialise on. If you are looking for a starting place for your video marketing, these key video trends will give you the motivation you need to get started on engaging video content for your business.

Trend #1:

Training/how to videos

Right now, the digital era has well and truly taken over and users are bombarded with advertisements on a daily basis. From TV, scrolling the internet and jumping onto social media, you will be met with ads each step of the way. So how do you help your business stand out? One of the latest emerging trends is that of educational videos. It’s about adding value to your viewers, encouraging them to stop scrolling and listen. Touching on both auditory and visual senses, videos are a fantastic medium to produce effective and compelling how-to tutorials and more. The key: don’t make it an advertisement. Instead, find a topic that resonates both with your audience and your product and/or service on offer, and add value. 

Did you know, 65% of people use YouTube to help them solve a problem. From renovating their bathroom to getting a splinter out of their hand, they are searching for video content to help. Sharing bits of knowledge or information goes a long way in building trust with your audience and engaging them in a memorable manner.

Trend #2:

Mobile video is growing stronger!

Mobile video consumption rises by 100% each year. In fact, people are 1.5 times more likely to watch a video on their mobile phone. This is a key trend that you need to factor into your video marketing strategy. From Facebook and Instagram stories, to Vimeo and YouTube, mobile videos can be displayed in a number of different forms to reach your target audience. From explainer videos that show how your product and/or service works to live videos where you host Q&As with your audience and engage them in real-time.

Studies have also shown that subtitles are essential when it comes to mobile videos, as 80% of them are consumed with the sound off.

Trend #3:

It’s getting personal

Customers no longer want to just see a brand, they want to go behind the brand and meet the people and processes that bring it all together. Vlogs are the third most-popular video form (coming in after how-to videos and educational videos) and are a popular way to connect a brand with its customers. The idea is to humanise your brand. Leave behind the filtered, professional, company videos and dig deeper into the raw, authentic approach to connect with viewers.

Think about your brand and what you offer and how you to can go behind the scenes to add value to your audience. This has the added benefit of making your brand more approachable and developing that key ingredient when it comes to marketing: trust.

Trend #4:

Covid has accelerated digital transformation

As far as engagement goes, ensuring you have quality content is essential and it’s never been so important. Coronavirus has forced even more people of all ages online and, even with a vaccine, this trend will continue. So, if you’ve already got plans to improve your digital offer now is the time to accelerate this and decide what content you need to get your messages across simply and powerfully. Film is such an essential part of this.

The future of video marketing

Video marketing will continue to skyrocket into 2021, making the need for an effective strategy a priority for each and every business. By utilising these trends we can already see emerging, you have the ability to put together an effective marketing strategy that has the potential to reach more customers than ever before.

We would love to support your ideas and help you fully embrace new or emerging trends. See more examples of our film work and contact us below to start a conversation.

Contact us


Close up of editing

7 steps to making a great video

Video production can completely transform the way you communicate with customers, if it’s planned properly.

At 7video, we’re advocates for following best practice in the planning and pre-production process for film and animation projects. Doing so saves our customers substantial money, time, and resources later on.

Hiring a skilled video agency is just one step towards ensuring a great video. It’s still crucial that you have clear objectives and a fantastic plan in place when you approach a company like ours. Consider these 7 tips for pre-production before you get started:

  1. Understand the timescales for your project
  2. Define your customer demographics
  3. Draft a clear message
  4. Plan your budget
  5. Write an interesting video script
  6. Get to the point within 8 seconds
  7. Plan the ideal video length

1. Understand the timescales for your project

It’s key that you understand this. When do you need it by? Have you considered how long it will take to plan and produce? Remember to discuss this with us at the earliest opportunity so we can agree a production schedule to ensure your targets are met. All projects are bespoke varying quite a bit in terms of the time needed, so it’s important that we have this conversation. 

2. Define your customer demographics

Researching your customer demographics will position you for success. In-house, create detailed profiles that represent your target viewers and unveil their interests and needs. Document these findings to carefully narrow down your audience.

It’s impossible for any film or animation campaign to cater to everyone, so focus your energy on attracting customers within a specific profile group. Having the average customer for your company in mind will empower us to create a video that looks and sounds authentic.

This is a great example of a video we made when the project really understood who there audience is:

3. Draft a clear message

After you define the people your video is addressing, the next step is to solidify the specific message you wish to convey. While it’s tempting to try to say everything at once in one video, this can dilute your key messages.

Pick specific objectives and draft clear messages. We can then support or help refine this, but it’s equally vital for you to know the message you wish to convey specifically with your video.

An explainer video describes features of your product, a message from the CEO spells out your values or a YouTube ad may be related to current trends.

An important tip is to refrain from explaining what you do. Instead, stick to what you are promoting or explaining. A video with a concise message will have a longer run time and provide a better return of investment.

Here’s a superb example of an animation we made with a really clearly defined message:

4. Plan your budget

A vital aspect of pre-production is to plan a budget in advance. Having a set budget will better equip you to maximize your deliverables.

Help both your team and our team get on the same page about financing to accelerate the production process. Consider factors such as the film or animation style you want, who is going to be interviewed, what is going to be featured, location details, voice-overs and props for conveying the message. 

Remember: a bad video is worse than no video at all. Try to be clear with us about your budget, as we can work with you to maximise what you have to produce a quality video that won’t harm your company’s image and will do a better job of accomplishing your goals.

5. Write an interesting video script

Making a video script engaging should be obvious, yet some companies get stuck focusing on formal language or protocols instead of engaging material.

You may not know how to write a good script but you should already have your key messages which can help inform it.  Once you’ve got something down, we can help support you to refine it. Then make sure you review and critique the script so that you know your message is spelled out clearly before finalising the video.

Modifying the script during the production stage can cost additional time and money because once the storyboard is created, you’ve already invested in the work that goes into production.

This powerful video we made was a huge success, thanks to its script and direct messaging:

6. Get to the point within 8 seconds

Eight seconds is the average attention span of an internet user. Your opening message should become clear in that time. With a clear script and close collaboration with our team, being succinct in the first few seconds will further the strengthen your message.

This is a great example of an animation we produced showing how to get to the point quickly:

7. Plan the ideal video length

It’s unwise to start the production phase without debating and finalising the ideal length of your video.

Keep in mind the ideal video lengths:

  • We recommend that the majority of videos are a maximum of 90 seconds.
  • For YouTube ads, the optimal length is 30 to 60 seconds.
  • YouTube videos are best kept between 8 and 10 minutes.
  • TV commercials should be between 60 and 90 seconds.

The stereotype that short videos are more watchable isn’t always true. In reality, it is most important to create a video that viewers want to keep watching or we can split your video into shorter versions for different channels like social media.

With an optimal video length, you will attract and retain viewers.

Ready to go!

Once you have finalised the above factors, you are ready to go into production. It requires planning, time, and focus, but you can do it.

Your team and ours have the ability to create compelling video content by keeping firmly in mind these important pre-production steps.

While you are here why not watch some videos on our website for some inspiration.

And remember to get in touch with the team if you need our support.

Contact us


Animation of an office presentation

Why should you use animation in 2021?

With such a large number of videos all trying to get viewers’ attention, it’s getting hard for companies to cut through the noise. You need engagement, and animated video will help you get this during 2021.

Here are some interesting stats:

  • Animated videos on landing pages increase conversions by over 80%.
  • 65% of people are visual learners and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
  • Visual information is processed a massive 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Video content is 50 times more likely to drive organic search results than plain text
  • About 5 billion YouTube videos are viewed on average every day and animations are amongst the most engaging.

There are many reasons why animation can work for you over the next 12 months. Here are just a few:

How does animation keep the viewer’s attention?

Internet users have short attention spans and will only spend a small amount time on a video or an article. Animation evokes emotions that resonate with the viewers. It sparks conversations and makes your audience want to follow the story.

How does animation simplify complex topics?

Animated video brings concepts to life that text or films can’t. Think about it: you can make your characters fly or travel in time. With the help of animation, you can show how mechanisms and processes work.

Animation brings back memories

Most of us associate cartoons with good times of our childhood. Animation can make us nostalgic which is one of the most powerful emotions, making it highly engaging.

Is animation fun?

People love being entertained, even if they talk business or get educated. The more entertaining your video on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media channels, the more people will share it. 

Animation fits for just about anything

Animation works fine for any marketing need: product explainer videos, infographics and announcements. 

Is animation cost effective?

One of the major advantages of using animation is that it is less expensive than many other videos. Film production can involve spending thousands of pounds. Instead, you can just spend hundreds to create a perfect animated explainer video.

You can find more examples of our animation work here and contact us below so we bring your ideas for 2021 to life.

Contact us